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carrot cake with pineapple on a white place with a fork
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4.6 from 10 votes

Carrot Cake with pineapple and toasted coconut

Deliciously moist carrot cake from scratch.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 891kcal
Author: Hilda Sterner


  • 2 9½″ round cake pans


  • 1 cup toasted walnuts (chopped)
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 4 oz apple sauce (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple (with liquid)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (divided)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • ½ cup butter (softened)
  • 2 teaspoon limoncello (or 1 teaspoon lemon extract or vanilla )
  • ¼ cup crushed pineapple (drained)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. 
  • Toast walnuts for approximately 8 minutes. Toast the shredded coconut on a separate tray for the last 4 minutes. 
  • Allow the nuts to cool off first, then let your pent-up frustrations out by placing them in a Ziploc bag and using a rolling pin to pound them. Or you can be more civilized and use a food processor.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in chopped walnuts and raisins. Set aside.
  • Next, add oil, apple sauce, sugars, and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until thoroughly combined. Beat in eggs, then stir in carrots, pineapple, and ½ of the toasted coconut. 
  • Add the flour mixture (in batches) until the ingredients are incorporated.  
  • To make a layered cake, pour into 2 greased and floured 9½″ round cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 
  • Cool the cakes for 10 minutes then invert them onto a wire rack. Slowly peel off the parchment paper. Cool completely before frosting.
  • If baking the carrot cake in a 9″ x13″ pan, leave the cake in the pan until completely cooled before frosting the top.

Prepare Frosting

  • Beat the softened cream cheese and butter until combined. 
  • Add lemon extract (or limoncello), and strained crushed pineapple and continue to mix.
  • Finally, add powdered sugar in batches, until fluffy.
  • Spread frosting between, on top, and on the sides of the cooled round cakes. I like to sprinkle some of the coconut in between the two layers as well. Using a rotating cake stand is very helpful!
  • Sprinkle the frosted cake with the remaining toasted coconut.


  • Carrot cake is pretty high in calories. To cut down on some of the calories, you can use unsweetened applesauce to replace some of the oil with equal parts of applesauce. Another idea is to use unsweetened shredded coconut and low-fat cream cheese.
  • You can use this recipe to make carrot cake cupcakes instead. Simply pour the cake batter into greased or lined cupcake pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes.
  • To save on time, you can skip toasting the walnuts and coconut, but I think it's worth the extra 10 minutes.
  • Mixing in the raisins and walnuts with the flour first coats them with flour which keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
  • I like to use a measuring cup to divide the batter between the two pans so that it's equally divided.
  • An easy way to fit the parchment paper in the round pans is to trace the bottom of the pans onto the parchment paper. Next, fold the parchment paper in half and cut around the drawn lines to make a half-circle. Now you have a perfectly sized piece of parchment paper to go on the bottom of the round pans.


Serving: 12servings | Calories: 891kcal | Carbohydrates: 111g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 422mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 38g